The Friends of Dodge County Parks is a volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization relying on membership dues and donations to assist Dodge County Parks and Trails with financial support of new and enhanced park facilities and recreational opportunities.
The Friends group was originally formed in 1985 and incorporated in 1987 as Friends of the Recreational Trail, Inc. (F.O.R.T.). The group was formed specifically to raise funds and support the development of the Wild Goose State Trail in Dodge County. The group was charged with raising 100% of the initial trail development costs through donations and grants.
After successfully funding the development of the Wild Goose State Trail, the group changed its name in 2001 to Friends of Dodge County Parks, Inc. and expanded its scope to encompass fundraising and support for all the Dodge County Parks.
The Friends group was critical in fundraising and support for the acquisition of Harnischfeger Park in 2005 and the ongoing planning and development of the Gold Star Memorial Trail project since 2014.
Fundraising and support for all Dodge County Parks and Trails facilities is ongoing. Typical projects supported by the Friends group include: trail developments and improvements, building and facility renovations and improvements, Harnischfeger Park barn and agricultural history preservation, tree planting and landscaping, interpretive signs, information kiosks, memorial benches, parkland acquisition and more. The annual Fallfest at Harnischfeger Park on the last Saturday of September is the group’s primary fundraising activity. Funds from this event are dedicated for Harnischfeger Park projects.
In an effort to provide a means of perpetual park funding in the future, an Endowment Fund was created in 2010 through the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. Annually up to 5% of the fund value maybe available for projects as directed by the Board of Directors.
Contributions made to the organization are tax deductible to the extent of the law and can be designated for specific funds or purposes as approved by the Friends of Dodge County Parks, Inc. Board of Directors to help further their mission.
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The Friends of Dodge County Parks, Inc.is a 501(c)(3) non-profit for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life in Dodge County by increasing opportunities for active and passive recreation and by preserving, protecting, restoring, and promoting natural resources, parks, trails, and recreation areas owned and/or maintained by Dodge County.